SSDI and Unemployment Need help please

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by ll1816, Dec 1, 2006.

  1. ll1816

    ll1816 Member

    Hi all:

    I'll try my best to make this long story short.

    I went out on FMLA for shoulder and wrist surgery. My employer approved my absence for 12 weeks.

    The shoulder surgery went fine. The wrist surgery, well...they fixed my wrist, but they broke my two front teeth at some point during the surgery.

    The dental bills at this point come to $5350. I met with an attorney for information, but after decided to try to go it on my own, after receiving a call from the president of my medical group.

    He said they would pay all my dental bills. I told him I was entitled to pain and suffering. He eventually forced my hand and I gave him a figure I thought was fair and reasonable. I'm waiting to hear back from him.

    Regarding my job, because I exceeded the 12 week FMLA allowance, my employer terminated me. The last day I actually worked was 8/4/06. I've been receiving short term disability from the state which will probably end next month as I believe I will be released by the doctors at that time.

    Prior to my surgeries and leave of absence I had been comtemplating leaving work and applying for SSDI because of the increased pain and fatigue of working. I have CFIDS, Fibro, DDD and depression to name a few things. I also struggle with memory and cognition.

    My understanding is that you must be unemployed for 12 months before applying for SSDI. Is that correct? I was "terminated" on 10/30 for not coming back within the 12 weeks. My doctor hasn't released me yet.

    Here is the big question and I'm hoping that because you are all so knowledeable, you'll be able to help:

    After my short term disability ends (12/06), I could file for unemployment so that we have some income to live on. Or, if the hospital settles with me, I may have enough to keep us afloat for 20 months. I know I've read somewhere that if you file for unemployment, you will never receive SSDI. If you were in my shoes, wanting to be approved for SSDI, which I know is a long process, and you received settlement money that could get you thru almost two years, what would you do? Would filing for unemployment mess up my chances to be approved for SSDI?

    I know I've made this long story long anyway, but I thought you should know the whole story in order to help me.

    Any and all help is so welcome.

    Thank you and hugs to all,
    Liz
    [This Message was Edited on 12/01/2006]
    [This Message was Edited on 12/01/2006]
  2. Catseye

    Catseye Member

    When I first became ill, I just thought I'd stay out of the office until I felt better. I just never felt better. After 6 months, I still didn't know what was wrong with me and filed for disability. Just under 3 years later, after being turned down a couple of times, I got my hearing and won.

    What you're talking about with the unemployment and disability is that when you go to get unemployment, you're saying that you're "employable"' and that you will continue to look for work. I would think that wouldn't be good if you want to file for disability. Take the settlement money.

    Hurry up and file for disability now. In my case, I said I was disabled with cfs which I got from hep c. I couldn't get a lawyer until I had been turned down. So do your homework. Read alot about it, I think there's a disability section on this site somewhere. You want to look up your disease on the SS website and see what their exact definition of it is. Then write down all the symptoms you have and when you go to the doctor, tell him all those symptoms that you have and make sure he documents them in his records. Keep a sort of journal where you can say what you did or rather what you couldn't do that day and why. Like me, I would say I couldn't take a shower alone BECAUSE I couldn't stand up for more than a few seconds or a minute and I couldn't use my arms because I was too weak. Give boring, redundant details to all questions. And answer all the questions they give you, even if it sounds irrelevant or stupid. good luck! karen
  3. ll1816

    ll1816 Member

    Thanks for the information. Great idea, keeping a jounal. I need to start doing that. So, if I get the settlement money, I think I'll just apply for SSDI. Can you apply right away or do you have to wait for a certain time period?

    I'm glad that you won!!!

    Hugs,
    Liz
  4. ll1816

    ll1816 Member

    I think that maybe I shouldn't file for unemployment. I'd really hate to take that risk.

    I do hope that I am able to settle with the hospital for my dental and pain/suffering damages. That little bit, would help us get by if I wait until a year before filing.

    Do you think it's a good idea to file at 9 mos. since they don't seem to get to your claim for several months?

    I will check out that website...thanks for the additional info.

    Hugs,
    Liz
  5. California31

    California31 New Member

    I would not file for unemployment....if I were going to file for SSDI....won't fly.
    Does your state (not your old employer) have disability insurance....California does....doubt that many other states do...if it does...it is appropriate to file for state disability.
    A usual requirement for unemployment benefits....is that you can work...are looking...and will work if you find a job...
    It's a tough dilema....How is it that your employer's short term disability could not have gone into longterm disability after three months...? Were you able to COBRA your health insurance benefits? Hope so.
    It's a maze.....takes a lot of support to carry on with learning how to approach the bureaucratic protocols.
    Happy this site exists. Good luck....
  6. ll1816

    ll1816 Member

    Thanks for the info. Yes, I'm in California and have been on disability for my shoulder and wrist surgery. I expect I will probably be released by those doctors next month, so my state disability would end. I've been receiving it since August.

    I wasn't on my companies disability, just the state's.

    Fortunately, my husband carries our medical and dental plans so we're okay there.

    Do you think I should try to get a letter from my neuro stating that I'm expected to be disabled for at least a year? Would that continue my state disabiliy and also allow me to apply for SSDI?

    Thanks and hugs,
    Liz
  7. Catseye

    Catseye Member

    I don't know about CA disability, but file for SS now. You will probably get turned down initially, anyway. I think if we lost our arms and legs in some horrific car accident, we would still get turned down the first time.

    They will send you a bunch of stuff to fill out. Don't worry about the letter from the doctor right away. Wait until you are asked for something, don't volunteer or send in anything without being asked for it first. You could send something you shouldn't. They will ask for all of your doctors' contact information so they can obtain your records. Then they'll send you to a local shrink that they probably use to determine if you can work or not.

    The one I saw just asked me a bunch of questions without letting me describe my problems and symptoms and then reported to SS that I was able to work. I tried really hard to answer her questions, racking my brain so hard that I crashed the next day. I was under the impression she was going to get to the bottom of my problem and help me. I was in the middle of too much brain fog to realize she was on THEIR side.

    The lady was an idiot and that's probably why they used her. She keeps giving results in their favor. The questions are things you can answer right then (stuff about math, simple things, memory) but going to an office and answering questions all day long is impossible. Just because you can do something for a minute or two doesn't mean you can do it ALL DAY LONG!! So watch out for the psych evaluation. Maybe if I had whined alot during my appt?? Who knows! Documentation is the most important thing and when you get a lawyer, he/she will be able to help you with getting a hearing, what judge to try and get or at least how best to be prepared, etc.

    good luck!

    karen
  8. ll1816

    ll1816 Member

    I'll apply right away, but I think I'll get a brief letter from my doctor for the state so that I can continue to receive income. California pays up to 52 weeks for disabilities and I've been receiving it since August.

    Do you think they'll send me to someone for a psych evaluation even though I've been seeing one for years? My therapist has told me that she would write a letter for me if I needed it. I'd hate to go thru what you did with your evaluation. But I'm glad you won!

    Hugs,
    Liz
  9. ll1816

    ll1816 Member

    I really don't think I could complete the paperwork on my own. Are there SS attorneys that will help you from the very beginning in filing the first claim and gathering paperwork? The thought of having to answer all those questions feels so overwhelming to me and I don't think I could do it on my own.

    Thanks and hugs,
    Liz
  10. Catseye

    Catseye Member

    I think the psych evaluation is for them. I don't think they're interested in your mental health, they just start looking for excuses to not approve you. They just sent me a name, address and number of a local psychologist and told me I had to make an appt with her. They certainly can't make it easy for us or EVERYBODY would be applying and getting a check.

    I tried to get a lawyer from the beginning, but they told me I had to get turned down, first. Then she told me what I told you about document everything and they are looking for specific symptoms included in their definition of the disease you have. The questions aren't something you really need help with. They are stuff like: who does your shopping? do you dress yourself? who cleans your house? can you bathe without assistance? I can't remember exactly, but stuff like this.

    And don't answer just yes or no without saying why. Like I can't go shopping because I can't walk for more than a minute or push a grocery cart and I can't use the handicap carts because I can't sit up for more than a few minutes at a time. You have to state the reason for everything you can't do. Like I can't wash dishes because I can't stand up and I can't raise my arms at all for more than a few seconds because they are too weak and I get sick to my stomach.
    And make sure you tell these things to your doctor, too, and ask him to document them in detail because you are applying for disability.

    And later, they will give you something for HIM to fill out and he won't like it because it's got alot of questions that are irrelevant and stupid. My doc was a great guy, I loved him, but getting him to fill out that questionnaire was like pulling teeth. I had to take it back to him because he didn't answer all the questions and he was real annoyed. I know it was with them, not me, but it was still a pain in the rear. Again, it was all about symptoms and having the ones in their definition and proving that you have them which is telling the doctor about them and having him put it in writing. So when they request your records, everything you said about yourself is being backed up by your doctor. Because with cfs, you can't really PROVE anything, you document symptoms and take tests to rule out other things like lyme disease and others that have some of the same symptoms. And then sit back and wait to get turned down again or get a hearing or get a check! hope this helps karen
  11. California31

    California31 New Member

    Hi, ya....Definitely stay on state disability...get a doctor to back you up....in my recollection...it is good for a year. Glad you have medical benefits, otherwise...be persistent in asking MD...chiro...whomever to back you up for disability..All the best.
  12. ll1816

    ll1816 Member

    Thanks for the additional info. It's good to know that I need to add more than just yes or no to their questions.

    I have a great doctor too, but like yours, he also doesn't like to fill out paperwork. He'd probably rather I complete it and he'd sign it!

    You are very helpful. Thank you so much!

    Hugs,
    Liz
  13. ll1816

    ll1816 Member

    I just emailed my doctor's nurse asking for a letter from my doctor that I can send to the state to continue my state disability.

    Hopefully, it won't be like pulling teeth to get it. My doctor doesn't like having to write letters or completing forms.

    Thanks again for your help!

    Hugs,
    Liz
  14. ll1816

    ll1816 Member

    Thank you for the info on the CFIDS brochure to help the doctors. This will be handy especially for my neuro as he's so busy and doesn't like filling out forms or typing letters.

    I emailed his nurse this morning and told her I'd pay him to complete these for me. Hopefully that will help. He'd probably charge me anyway.

    Thanks for the helpful tips. I'm definitely going to order the brochure.

    Take care and hugs,
    Liz
  15. Kakel

    Kakel New Member

    I just went thru applying this week so maybe I can help. The rule is you have to be or expected to be out of work for one year or more or expect your disability to end in your death (thier words...not mine). When they figure out how long you will get paid for they take off the first 6 months of your disability assuming that 6 months was covered by state disability....then your illness date starts from that point.

    No matter what you are doing now, as long as you are not able to work I would file the claim since it can take a very long time to get it thru. I had heard stories so I asked....were most claims denied and then had to go into appeal and the man as SS told me yes that was true...so be prepared to have to hire a SS lawyer to get your claim thru the appeal process (they work on a contingency fee basis) since that is how most cases seem to go.

    Don't worry about anything...it was very easy...they took my claim over the phone for me since they determined I was too sick to come into the office to do it. It's about an hour of questions you may find difficult to answer considering it can go back 15 years of your work history and your entire condition history. They don't worry too much if you can't remember because they will get your doc's records....just be prepared to answer questions like where you worked 15 years ago, how many hours, ect.
    Deb
  16. ll1816

    ll1816 Member

    Thanks Deb,

    I'll probably apply over the phone too, unless I can find an atty. to complete the forms for me.

    Thank you for sharing your experience thus far with me. I wish you much luck.

    I'm going to call tomorrow to file.

    Gentle hugs,
    Liz